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GPs ‘should tackle obesity in practice staff’

GPs would be required to reduce obesity in their staff, under proposals from a peer that have been backed by ministers.

Former president of the Royal Society of Medicine, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, suggested all employers in the NHS should ensure their staff were good role models for patients.

During the debate in the House of Lords, health minister Earl Howe said Baroness Findlay had raised an important point and he wanted employers to tackle the issue.

Cross bencher Baroness Finlay said:  ‘Are the Government considering including in commissioning from health service employers a requirement to address obesity in their staff at all levels, given that the staff are often quite severely obese and act as a very poor role model for those patients whose obesity should be addressed?’

Earl How replied: ‘Dame Carol Black and I chair a network within the responsibility deal in the Department of Health which draws together employers from a range of sectors  to address health in the workplace.

‘It is a tremendously important opportunity if we can engage good employers to realise that it is in their direct interest to ensure that their employees enjoy good health and lead healthy lifestyles.’

 Dr George Rae, chief executive of North Tyneside LMC, said the comments were ‘ absolutely insulting’ and should not be taken seriously.